When people have become victims of a medical mistake, an attorney can help them seek financial justice.
Every year, thousands of people in the United States are victims of medical errors. In fact, NPR news reports on a recent study which shows that each year, 210,000-440,000 deaths in the U.S. are attributable to a medical error that occurred in a hospital. While cancer and heart disease are the second and first leading cause of death in the country, the new numbers show that the third leading cause of death is medical errors. For people living in Portland, when a medical professional’s error causes them harm, they may wonder how a medical malpractice attorney can help them.
Explaining the law
OregonLaws.gov states that there are a couple of conditions that exist regarding the statute of limitation for victims of medical malpractice. For instance, if a victim did not find out about a medical error within five years of the date of treatment or operation because of deceit, fraud or representation that was misleading, then the victim may have an additional two-year limit in which to file a lawsuit once the error is found. If there was no fraud, then the five-year statute will apply.
However, during that time, once the wrong diagnosis, surgical error or mistake is discovered, then victims will need to file some type of legal action in order to seek compensation. Attorneys can look at the circumstances surrounding the victims’ medical error and help them understand how the law applies to their situation.
Collecting and analyzing evidence
In order to prove that a medical error was made, attorneys need to collect and analyze evidence. This evidence may include the following:
- Test results
- Operating room records
- Doctor’s notes
- Proof that there was a doctor-patient relationship
- Expert witnesses to show that the treatment given to the patient did not meet the standard of care
Additionally, attorneys will also need to show how the medical error affected the victim’s life. This is done through new medical examinations, documentation of treatment given for the harm caused and statements from those who know the victim.
Advising on whether to settle or go to trial
Negotiating a potential settlement can be tricky, especially when dealing with an insurance company. Hospitals and doctors’ insurers are not always willing to admit that an error was committed and this means they will try to lowball the amount that they pay out. An attorney can help victims see whether it is in their best interest to settle or if they should take their case before a jury.
One surgical error or failure to diagnose an illness can result in a lifetime of challenges for people living in Oregon. They may, therefore, find it beneficial to talk with an attorney who handles these kinds of cases.